Tuesday, October 21, 2014
"On Fire": So, What 'Kind of Love' Do You Want?
"[The Man] I went to my garden, dear friend, best lover! breathed the sweet fragrance.
I ate the fruit and honey, I drank the nectar and wine. Celebrate with me, friends! Raise your glasses---'To life! To love!'
[The Woman ] I was sound asleep, but in my dreams I was wide awake. Oh, listen! It’s the sound of my lover knocking, calling!
[The Man ] 'Let me in, dear companion, dearest friend, my dove, consummate lover! I’m soaked with the dampness of the night, drenched with dew, shivering and cold.'"---Song of Solomon 5:1-3(Message)
While doing some 'net surfing over the weekend...
I "happened upon" (Proverbs 16:33) an article entitled "The Seven Types of Love". After checking out a couple of types, it definitely held my attention. After checking them all out, I'm pretty sure you'll see why:
Characterized by high Intimacy but no commitment or passion. Sternberg says that this is friendship where one enjoys the company of another but does not feel sexually passionate toward them or indeed feel any long-term commitment to them as one would with a family member.
2. Companionate Love
Long term romantic relationships tend toward Companionate Love. There is Intimacy and Commitment but no sexual passion. Most people feel Companionate love toward their family members. There is more commitment than in a simple friendship. Feeling companionate love for a person does not stop you being annoyed or irritated by that person. Indeed, that irritation and resentment can often be the cause of the loss of passion. Often cantankerous older couples have strong companionate love for each other even though they argue all the time.
3. Empty Love
In empty love there is commitment but no passion or intimacy. Relationships where couples are leading separate lives under the same roof. A relationship can slip toward Empty Love when a couple stay together for family reasons.
4. Fatuous Love
Commitment and Passion with no Intimacy are the hallmarks of Fatuous Love. When a couple fall in love seemingly instantly and marry with haste they will often find themselves in the trouble of Fatuous Love. Without intimacy or friendship the reality of the dream life that the couple thought they would lead can come as a shock. The relationship can still make it but it will be hard work since the couple don't really know each other.
Infatuation is love at first sight. It's passion without intimacy or commitment which explains why it can disappear as suddenly as it appeared. The reality of life with another human being is very hard on Infatuation. There's nothing wrong with Infatuation as a starting point in a relationship, many relationships start that way but the relationship won't last unless it can become grounded in some Intimacy and/or Commitment. This helps to explain why our passion cools after a while - it has to in order to enable to relationship to survive.
6. Romantic Love
This is the one we think we all want, passion and intimacy bound up together. Passionate love gives us that sensation of "fusion" with our lovers so that we seem to become one. Unfortunately it isn't grounded in commitment. As described by Dr. Sternberg Romantic Love is a whirlwind of intense emotion and bonding but it can fall apart if the emotional high is not maintained through a lack of commitment or stickability.
7. Consummate Love
According to Dr. Sterngerg this is the "perfect" form of love that can be found right in the center of the triangle. In it Intimacy, Commitment and Passion are all equally strong. This is the true love that can last the whole lives of the couple and allow them to survive the inevitable ups and downs of life. A couple experiencing Consummate Love can truly say that their lover is their best friend. They are true life-partners, committed, passionate and intimate with each other.
Over the course of time of counseling couples, I have met individuals in all of these forms of "love"
Many got married way too quickly.
Many confused "good sex" for a great relationship.
Many did not make the time to heal from past situations before jumping into a new one.
Many were more consumed with "making a family" than *building a marriage*.
Many were quite simply horny, fearful or both and became tired of waiting.
Many did not receive wise and thorough counsel.
And most did not realize that Consummate Love should be the ultimate goal.
That a solid relationship has intimacy, commitment and passion---all in one.
And that during the dating/courtship phase, *no individual* should be so needy (or is it desperate?) to get married that they compromise (or is it settle?) in any of these areas.
INTIMACY is defined as being "a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group". It's also defined as "the quality of being comfortable, warm, or familiar" and "sexual intercourse". It takes time to get familiar with an individual. And although *no one is exempt with God* when it comes to being instructed to wait until marriage before engaging in sex (Hebrews 13:4), it is important to pay attention to one, if you're physically attracted to someone and two, if both of you are physically affectionate with one another. Trust me, I know some pretty lonely married folks and it's because their spouse pretty much only touches them when they want to have sex.
So ask yourself:
Are you both "thoroughly conversant" and "easygoing" and "unconstrained" in your interactions with one another?
Does "he" hold your hand? Kiss you on your cheek or forehead? Put his hand around your shoulder? Hug you without trying to cop a feel (just sayin')?
COMMITMENT is defined as "the act of committing, pledging, or engaging oneself". Not only that but "a pledge or promise; obligation" and "engagement; involvement". Personally, I think/believe/discern that one of the main causes of divorce is that far too many people "act married" with way too many people prior to their wedding day. And while marital covenant vows (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Matthew 19:6) are to be reserved for a marriage license and ceremony, do pay attention to if the person you are considering "going to the next level with" engages you, is willingly involved in your life and *keeps their promises*. Make sure that you also do the same. Someone who is poor in these areas on the front end of marriage is going to make things really challenging (REALLY CHALLENGING) later.
PASSION is defined as "strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor", "strong sexual desire" and one of my personal favorites: "a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything". Listen, I've heard really churchy folks say "It doesn't matter if you don't have a strong physical desire for who you are with; that's about the flesh." *Where in the Bible does it say that mutual physical attraction within a marriage that doesn't matter?* In fact, there is a whole book (Song of Solomon) that's got passion all up in it and 2 Timothy 3:16-17(NKJV) tells us this about Scripture: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
Strong desire, a lot of love, strong sexual desire and also a deep fondness and profound level of enthusiasm for the person you are considering spending your life with are *all vital* to the success of the relationship. Mutually so too.
There's more that must be said about passion as well. One author insightfully penned this:
Because the word passion is so degraded today – confused with ego ambition, sex, bullying, etc. – I also use a lot of other terms which seem cognate with the meaning I want to establish. I have a
number of key metaphors and alternate expressions, such as the leap into the unknown, being staked to the ground, and others.
I see passion as the key to the Jewish approach to faith in the Old Testament. I now think I have found another word in Hebrew for the Greek passion: this word is cleave. Cleave is a strange and powerful word which turns up in various places and in various ways throughout the Hebrew Bible. A man cleaves to his woman in marriage; the tongue cleaves to the roof of the mouth; tired bones cleave to the skin. But what really grabbed me was that in Deuteronomy, early on in the Old Testament, the text repeatedly says, again and again, cleave to God.
Passion is our cleaving to God.
I love the very word, cleave.
In English, as in Hebrew, this word carries a paradox, a contradiction, a mystery, a secret. For, it means both to join with, and to separate. In fact, more concretely, it means a warm embrace, but yet when we wield a sword, we can cut an opponent’s head in two: we cleave them in half. To cleave is at one and the same time to hold on to and unite with, yet also to rend, to tear into pieces, to
divide. Poetically this captures the peculiarity of passion as I have written of it in so many different ways. To cleave is to love...
*Nice*. That is just an excerpt of the article and so you might want to check all of it out sometime. For now, though here are two main points: A truly passionate relationship consists of two individuals who cleave to God. So, if you're dating someone who does not have a strong relationship with Elohim (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit---yes, all three-I John 5:8), that is something to get some divine wisdom (James 1:5) and wise counsel (Proverbs 24:6) about; *especially as a woman*. A husband is supposed to lead your home. How can you trust him enough to submit to him (Colossians 3:18) if he is not fully humble towards and submitted to the Father (or at least showing fruit that he is trying to be?).
And secondly, the King James Version of Genesis 2:24-25 is where we all get that a man is to leave his parents and *cleave* to his wife. "Leaving, Cleaving and Becoming One" is another awesome read to check out. here are a few excerpts of it:
Part one of that process is Naming:
There is a Naming that Adam does, the husband establishes the relationship when he officially, legally declares what the relationship will be, he identifies that this woman is a part of him, and she is his missing part. Adam is the one that names her, calling her woman, (Is shah) in the original language. This is what is supposed to be happening at your wedding – you are declaring to the world that this is officially, spiritually, and legally your wife, your missing part and she is now your woman. You do this before God, your family, her family, friends, enemies and past lovers. Her father passes the responsibility of her care, nurture and protection over to you when the minister asked,”who gives this woman”. You said. “I Do” and accepted the responsibility spiritually, emotionally and legally to take care of , love and provide for her...
Part two of that process is Leaving:
There is a Leaving that Adam must do: Your mother and father are your first helpers, they play a
vital role in your existence, nurture and maturity and you should always honor and appreciate them for that. However in order for the husband and wife to make a good lasting connection you must change your relationship with your mother and father. The Bible says leave your mother and father- the word leave means to leave, loose, forsake, depart from, leave behind, let alone, abandon. Why would God ask you to leave the two people who have probably done more for you than anyone else? Your mother is your first helper, she does almost all of the tasks that your wife must now pick up, she washed your clothes, prepared a home, nurtured you, comforted you, feed you, befriended you etc. These are now all the duties that your wife must pick up plus one that mother could never do. If a man does not make the emotional, physical, and spiritual break with his parents his wife cannot make the bond as his new help meet and it can eventually destroy the marriage...
Part three of the process is Cleaving:
Once the leaving has taken place you can now cleave which means to overtake , stick to, cling, stay with, pursue closely, follow hard. You are to be the glue that runs after and pursues your wife, God holds you responsible to do all in your power to keep the bond tight and firm and when you have done this properly you two become one flesh. In the sight of God you are like one person, flowing and moving together to serve Him. Cleaving must be maintained through hard trials, sickness, financial pressures, crisis, drama with children, mistakes and hurt.
Maintaining a healthy spiritual relationship by praying with your wife, leading your family in the study of the Word and worshipping together is the first key.
Maintaining a healthy emotional relationship by communicating, not shutting down, speaking the truth in love, forgiving one another and pushing to reconcile is the second key.
Maintaining a good sexual relationship by keeping the romance going making her feel special, showing her care, protection , complementing her will give her the motivation to keep connecting physically. This is the third key.
Do not take on substitutes to meet your sexual needs in other ways, ( fantasy, pleasuring yourself or
flirting with other women) this is the one need she meets that no one else on the planet is supposed to be meeting. Sex helps a husband and wife stay connected.
I could go on for a really long time about what Consummate Love is designed to be. For now, my prayer is that all of this plants a seed. I have a sense that some of you are seeking clarity and confirmation about the man you are considering or seeing right now. My hope is that this information helps along the way and as Romans 5:5 tells us "hope does not disappoint".
Consummate Love is the best kind of love.
Wait for it. You'll be glad that you did!